I was so excited.
I had stayed up all night, camped out on the street, and it was just moments before the beginning of…
The Tournament of Roses Parade!
This is a beautiful parade that happens every year on January 1st. And it's quite a spectacle to watch on TV. But, let me tell you, being there in person is another thing entirely!
It's hard to explain the excitement of the people, the sounds and smells, the beauty of the floats with their myriad rainbows of colorful seeds and flowers. I stayed out with a group from church just once in college. But I'm so glad that I did. It was memorable…
I was reminded of that beautiful morning because today is Palm Sunday. The day of Jesus' triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem.
Picture yourself there – surrounded by people from all walks of life. It was the beginning of Holy Week, and the roads into Jerusalem were thronging with pilgrims. Can you hear the many voices of the crowd – murmuring or laughing, talking excitedly among themselves? Are you jostled along with the animals, stopping here and there for a bite to eat? Can you see and smell the surrounding countryside?
Can you imagine the anticipation in the crowd when they heard that Jesus – whom many believed was the long-awaited Messiah, the Promised One who would deliver their nation – was arriving in the Holy City?
"Where is He?"
"He's just up ahead."
"Is He coming this way?"
People scrambled for position (just like we did on that parade route) – trying to get the best vantage point to see – to see HIM!
He enters on a donkey – and people push and shove to throw their cloaks on the road ahead of Him. Palm branches are waved and strewn about in honor of the approaching King. Jesus was the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting:
"Praise God for the Son of David!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
Praise God in highest heaven!"
It's one thing to read about it in the Bible – being there in person must have been another thing entirely!
And then – less than one week later – Jesus was hanging on a criminal's cross.
Anticipation – then incredible, dashing hopelessness…
The anguished cry echoed in every heart – WHY?
Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" sheds light – because it tells us what the Light of the World did on that day:
"You lived in this world without God, and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall that separated us…Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross…Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us." (Ephesians 2:12-14, 16, 18)
The Prince of Peace arrived that day – not the conquering king, but the Suffering Servant.
The One who brought hope to all the peoples of the earth.
The One who still does…
"Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious,
Yet he is humble, riding on a donkey…
His realm will stretch from sea to sea and…to the ends of the earth."
Bless the One who comes in the name of the LORD!!
What are your words of praise on this glorious Palm Sunday?
"When in doubt, search God out!"